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Refrigeration

Materials

Shape memory alloys the basis for more efficient refrigerant-free cooling

By preserving our food and keeping our buildings comfortable in hot weather, mechanical cooling systems have been a boon, but with their refrigerant gases and high power consumption they're not exactly environmentally friendly. In an effort to make a greener, more energy efficient cooling system, a team of engineers from Germany's Saarland University is turning to shape memory materials to replace the refrigerant gases used in conventional cooling technologies.Read More

Science

Your next fridge could keep cold more efficiently using magnets

The fridge is the most common of common household appliances. Despite improvements in efficiency over the years, they remain one of the biggest users of electricity in the home, relying on chemical refrigerant and a compressor to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of the fridge. GE researchers have now developed a new type of refrigeration technology using magnets that is more environmentally friendly and is predicted to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient that current technology ... and it could be in household fridges by the end of the decade.Read More

Electronics

Solar Cooler keeps drinks cold using the sun instead of ice

In the past, we've seen solar ovens that can whip up a hot meal using only the sun's rays, but Solar Cool Technologies has a new product that harvests that same energy to accomplish just the opposite. We quite literally crossed paths with the Solar Cooler and its designers at a Las Vegas casino during CES where they were showing off the new Solar Cooler. The Solar Cooler, as its name implies, is a portable container for food and drinks that keeps its contents cold using a compact refrigeration system connected to solar panels.Read More

Cold transport trucks to cool their cargo using fuel cells

The refrigeration units used in cold transport trailers are typically powered by small diesel engines, which use up non-renewable fuel and release greenhouse gases, just like their big brothers. The US Department of Energy, however, is looking into an alternative. As part of a two-year pilot project, it’s equipping four such trailers with clean-running hydrogen fuel cells. Read More

Automotive

The transferrable Euroengel refrigerated box

Eberspächer is best known for its OEM work with vehicle manufacturers in the field of exhausts and heaters, but the company's new Euroengel compressor refrigerated range directly targets end users. The portable lightweight refrigerated boxes can reportedly be temporarily fitted to almost any commercial vehicle, and are transferable between vehicles. A 12 or 24-volt socket (cigarette lighter) is sufficient for all boxes and when stationary, they can be plugged into any mains electricity supply system in the world, from 110 to 240 volts. The cost-effectiveness in comparison to a refrigerated vehicle conversion is impressive, as purchased or leased vehicles can be retrofitted to become refrigerated vehicles, then sold or returned in original condition.Read More

Around The Home

Gorenje introduces the new SmarSofa at IFA 2010

With its retro good looks and smooth lines, the SmarSofa from Gorenje wouldn’t look out of place on an Austin Powers movie set. On display at IFA 2010, the SmarSofa is not just a convertible lounge. It includes a fully integrated fridge which contains remote-controlled, rotating cooling platters. At the touch of a button the platters containing ready-to-eat dishes can be lifted and lowered to the desired height. How’s that for groovy?Read More

Around The Home

'Thermally-elastic' metal to cut summer CO2 emissions and electricity bills

Many readers would be familiar with the electrical blackouts that occur in the summer months resulting from the extra load placed on electricity supplies by air conditioners. A new “smart” metal being developed by researchers at the University of Maryland (UM) could help cool homes and refrigerate food 175 percent more efficiently than current technology, not only giving strained electricity networks a bit of relief, but also drastically cutting summer electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions.Read More

Science

The future of refrigeration could be magnetic

In the future, your refrigerator might keep your food cold by using a magnet. Not only would it use less power and run quieter than your current fridge, but it also wouldn’t contain any hydrofluorocarbons, gases which can add tremendously to the greenhouse effect if not properly disposed of. It all comes down to something called the magnetocaloric effect, wherein a changing magnetic field within a material causes it to get colder. It definitely holds promise, although scientists first have to figure out just how the thing works.Read More

Environment

The chilling power of sunlight

The sun is already being used to power air-conditioning systems so it seems a natural progression to apply it to refrigerate perishable foodstuffs - a huge consumer of fossil fuel-based energy. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany, are taking this task to heart with two solar refrigeration trials in the Mediterranean region – one at a Tunisian winery and the other at a dairy in Morocco. Read More

Around The Home

ChotuKool: the $69 fridge for rural India

Is this the world’s cheapest refrigerator? Launched by Indian conglomerate Godrej and Boyce, ChotuKool's $69 price tag is not the only reason it can be called super economical. The portable, top-opening unit weighs only 7.8kg, uses high-end insulation to stay cool for hours without power and consumes half the energy used by regular refrigerators. This is a product that has crossed several technological barriers and is designed to cross several social barriers as well.Read More

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